We present a wave-equation-based method for seismic illumination analysis. A one-way wave-equation-based, generalized screen propagator is used to extrapolate the wavefields from sources and receivers to the subsurface target. A local plane-wave analysis is used at the target to calculate localized, directional energy fluxes for both source and receiver wavefields. We construct an illumination matrix using these energy fluxes to quantify the target illumination conditions. The target geometry information is used to manipulate the illumination matrix and generate different types of illumination measures. The wave-equation-based approach can properly handle forward multiple-scattering phenomena, including focusing/defocusing, diffraction, and interference effects. It can be directly applied to complex velocity models. Velocity-model smoothing and Fresnel-zone smoothing are not required. Different illumination measurements derived from this method can be applied to target-oriented or volumetric illumination analyses. This new method is flexible and practical for illumination analysis in complex 2D and 3D velocity models with nontrivial acquisition and target geometries.